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Opinion: Antibiotics need a special place in the drug pricing debate

The best advice doctors are given when a new antibiotic becomes available is, "Don't use it." That helps preserve its potency for as long as possible and slows the development…
A supermarket pharmacy manager fills an antibiotics prescription in Miami. Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Melinta Therapeutics, one of the few companies to recently bring a new antibiotic to market, filed for bankruptcy at the end of December. This news comes less than a year after another antibiotic developer, Achaogen, did the same thing.

More than 90% of antibiotics in the pipeline today are being developed by small companies like these, not by the pharmaceutical giants that once dominated the field. And with antibiotic prices low and profit margins narrow, many small companies just can’t stay afloat.

That’s a big problem — a problem that puts

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